tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC April 16, 2011 5:00am-5:30am EDT
the cake is baked. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, bff the republicans and the paul ryan budget, bff, best friends forever. the republicans got themselves hitched to the paul ryan budget this afternoon. the ryan budget is now the republican budget. and when they wake up tomorrow morning they may find there is no getting out of this. can they really defend tax cuts for the rich, for big
corporations, the death of medicare? they're going to have to because democrats won't let the voters forget it. they got it on the record today. just wait until you hear what president obama really has in mind for the ryan republicans. it is, of course, our top story. plus, a top republican consultant says mitt romney will never be president. trump calls barack obama the worst president ever. that's trouble. he's a talk show host now. and jon huntsman notes about president obama is revealed, chaos across the aisles. why is texas doing this, because some are convinced deerborn, michigan is now under sharia law. they heard it on the radio. we'll get the facts from the mayor of deerborn himself. and it was 64 years ago today that jackie robinson broke the color bar in baseball, perhaps the first significant step in
the civil rights movement. legendary columnist, author and rankin for jimmy breslin joins us here to talk about the man who made robinson's arrival possible. let me finish with donald trump receiving the grassy knoll of conspiracy theorists. let's begin with the republicans passing the paul ryan budget today, which they did. dan lundgren voted for the ryan plan and elijah cummings is a maryland democrat who voted against it. thank you for joining us. this was basically a party line vote today. 235-193. the democrats all voted no. all but four republicans and those four republicans almost always vote against things voted for it. are you worried that you are now on record for demolishing medicare? >> no. because i'm not on record for demolishing medicare. i'm on record for saving medicare. cbo has said very specifically
medicare will go broke in nine years. the status quo is what kills medicare. those who will not face up to the truth are what kills medicare. what paul ryan has brought forward, what we republicans have now adopted is an adult approach to dealing with the serious problem. we have got to go beyond this idea of promising things that we cannot keep and putting burden after burden after burden of debt on our children and that's what our effort is to do here. this nonsense that we're trying to kill medicare only makes sense if you ignore the arithmetic. and one thing congress cannot do is repeal the laws of simple arithmetic. and it shows that medicare is, frankly, on a path to oblivion unless we save it. this wasn't a tip to save medicare, to save the safety net, not to break it, not to kill it. >> jay carney, the spokesman for the president, the press secretary said it ends medicare
as we know it. is that your view, mr. cummings? >> yes, it is. and, you know, i listened to my colleague. to be very frank with you, i'm appalled. i think it is very unfortunate that while they are destroying medicare, they're giving tax breaks and subsidies to the oil companies and certainly giving tax breaks to millionaires on the backs of our seniors. come on, now. you give somebody a $15,000 voucher to buy health insurance, you know, chris, somebody who is 65 years old with a heart condition, high blood pressure, and diabetes, who is going to ensure them? think about it. when that -- if that premium does not cover their insurance, they're just out of luck. >> respond to that, mr. lungren, that's a good charge. that's the way i look at it because the vouchers, they don't cover the whole cost of a health care plan, do they? if they did, where would be the savings here? >> first of all, let's make it clear if we're talking about
someone 65 and older, anybody 55 and older will not be affected by any changes whatsoever -- >> until they're 65. until they're 65. >> no, no. absolutely not. if you're anywhere between 55 and older, current program of medicare is yours. you keep it with no changes whatsoever. >> okay, 54 then. >> those who are 54 and under have to face the fact that the system will be broke by the time that they are eligible for it and so we have to do something to reform it. and what paul ryan has suggested, what we have adopted is an approach that allows people to have consumer decision-making to allow them to be able to, with the amount of subsidy they get from the federal government make their own choices. just like part d in medicare right now, in which individuals who are over 65 are allowed to make their own choices. not only is there a tremendous satisfaction with it by every
poll that's been taken, but the numbers, that is the overall cost to the government has gone up by 40%. that's what we need to do, save the system. >> well, mr. cummings, mr. cummings, the way i understand it is the government is not going to give an older person after this plan kicks in enough money to buy an insurance policy. they're going to give this woman, usually a woman that age, her 70s, her 80s some money but then she cohas to come up with e difference if she can find a company that will ensure her with her conditions. >> that's exactly right, chris. it is interesting that congressman lungren talks about medicaid part d, the prescription program. the president said he wants to make sure that we use the same system that the veterans use and that is get a discount with regard to prescription drugs. the ryan plan throws that out the window and we are paying 40% more than we could be paying if
we use the full purchasing power. this is a real problem. i can tell you the seniors in my district, i met with them on monday, they're livid, even the ones that are 65. they know it doesn't apply to those over 55. but they're thinking about their children and generations yet unborn. we can do better. >> generations unborn ought to be concerned about the fact that we're piling debt that they cannot live with and that is the system is going to go broke. what do you tell those seniors when you have to admit to them that in nine years medicare is going to go broke? >> what i say to them -- let me tell you what i tell them, i tell them to call your republican congressmen and tell them to stop giving subsidies to the richest of the rich and stop helping the oil companies so much, be worried about them and -- >> this is the same old song. >> it is not the same old talk. >> it is the same old song. >> is it true? >> the president's commission, the president's commission that was established to look at our
overall situation, fiscal situation, recommended that we flatten the tax code by taking out those exemptions including corporate welfare that is out there and bring down the overall rate so that we can compete worldwide. that is not giving it away to the rich. that's following a bipartisan prescription that was presented. but if you demagogue it and claim that it is for somehow helping the rich and at the expense of the young people, we're never going to have an adult conversation than. >> but isn't it a real trade-off here -- i'm looking at the numbers, you're cutting money going to social security, medicare, rather, say you're saving money there, but you're also allowing the rich to get another tax extension. another tax break. why are you giving tax breaks to people that make millions of dollars a year at the same time you're saying you're broke and have to cut medicare costs? >> if you would look at the recommendations, it is not only bringing the rates down, it is getting rid of many of the exemption and exceptions that are there that bring those rates
down in effect for the very rich. it is to try and make us a job producing economy right now. that's the way we're going to work our way out. the idea to have one of the highest rates of corporate taxes in the world is not the way to create jobs here. we're trying to have a job growth program along with a fiscal program that has some responsibility to it. we're tired of frankly not telling the truth to the american people. >> here's the president, caught on the mike last night at a fund-raiser talking turkey politically i guess. but let's hear him. he didn't know he was being recorded for the press. but cbs reported today an audio of president obama talking last night to contributors to the democratic party in a closed door session. let's see what you think of the president's words. here he is, president obama. i said, you want to repeal health care? go at it. we'll have that debate. you're not going to be able to do that by nickel and diming me in the budget. you think we're stupid? >> well, are you -- do you think
the voters want to get rid of health care, mr. rlungren? do they want to get rid of obama's health care bill that they fought for last year? >> they don't want to get rid of health care. they want to get rid of a program adopted last year that neither brings costs down nor makes it more accessible nor has a positive impact on our overall budget. no, i find people in my district and wherever i go saying, change that. that's not what we intended when we voted for the president and when you have over 1,050 waivers granted by the department of hhs because either unions or business or even entire states can't afford the program, maybe that's a pretty good indication it is not working. >> well, didn't you just give away the argument, congress, by saying change it because before this was a health care bill passed by the president, the republicans never passed a health care bill and now you want to reform something you wouldn't have even created? >> it is not true.
the republicans did pass encouragement by way of subsidies to the states to establish high risk pools to deal with those people who had difficulty getting policies. >> my fellow americans, elijah cummings of maryland and congressman dan lungren, notre dame guy from california. coming up, republican strategist mark mckinnon says his party's de facto front-runner for president, mitt romney, can't win. and mckinnon is an interesting guy. we'll figure out what he went, why can't the guy leading -- or used to lead the polls can't be president. we'll talk about it. why is jon huntsman doing stuff here? we'll talk about him in a minute. he's kind of fascinating. he used to work for obama, didn't he? we'll be right back. [ sneezes ] allergies? you think i have allergies? you're sneezing. i'm allergic to you. doubtful, you love me. hey, you can't take allegra with fruit juice. what? yeah, it's on the label. really? here, there's nothing about juice on the zyrtec® label. what? labels are meant to be read. i'd be lost without you. i knew you weren't allergic to me.
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the candidates are getting the ink these days are the ones we don't think can win the presidency. the candidates who could win don't get any attention. mark halperin, thank you, and eugene robinson is an msnbc. mark mckinnon is a pretty well respected guy, great writer, great thinker, i think an independent. here he is laying out for why mitt romney, who many thought was the one whose turn it was can't win. bad timing. mckinnon says he's an entirely conventional candidate in an entirely unconventional time and second he's not a true tea party kind of guy and the republicans are running against obama health care and he had his own. and nobody thinks or talks about romney. it is his turn. republican rules usually say,
gene, it is your turn, whether you're nixon, eisenhower, ford, it is your turn, you get the job, it is his turn but nobody seems excited about it. what do you think of this assessment by mckinnon? >> i think it is a pretty good assessment. the point i keep coming back to is number three. the fact that so much of the republican enthusiasm about this upcoming election is based on opposition to obama care, to the obama health care reform when, in fact, it is basically based on romney care. the individual mandate that he imposed in massachusetts. i don't know how he gets past that. i don't know how he gets past the republican primaries with that. >> it is almost like it is even bigger than the cap and trade bill that nailed a lot of democrats last time. once you're on it, you're on it. i'm thinking about the same thing with the ryan health care bill, the ryan budget thing today. let's talk about this guy. is he in trouble? is he really out of it? >> mark mckinnon is a smart guy and it is a great list.
but three things on the other side. number one, it is the weakest field any of us have seen in our lifetime. the one who is the nominee of anyone being talked about is a failed candidate with a lot of problems. two, romney has been laying low. he has a purposeful strategy of staying behind the scenes. he's not trying to put forward an alternative narrative, something the public and press would latch on to that would put some of the issues in the back ground. until he does that, i'm not willing to say as dire a thing as mark mckinnon has. finally, finally, this is clearly an anti-establishment year. but the bottom line is the republican party is still an establishment party, have always picked a person whose turn it is and there is no one that has a greater claim to that than romney. if that doesn't happen, it is defining what we're all seeing in the post reagan era, in the party. >> let's look at another movement. jon huntsman, the other guy, the other lds guy running, he wrote to president obama back in 2009, worked for him as the ambassador
to china. you're a remarkable leader, and it has been a great honor getting to know you. here is another letter to bill clinton. here is a letter to bill clinton from jon huntsman. i have enormous regard for your experience, sense of history and brilliant analysis of world events. please save some time for me when i'm in new york next time. i must report that secretary clinton has won the hearts and minds of the state department. bureaucracy. no easy task and after watching her in action, i can see why. she is well read, hard working, personable and has even more charisma than her husband. it's an honor to work with her. that's a lot of love. is that the kind of thing that be used against an r? i think he has a bigger problem with disloyalty. you accept an ambassadorship from somebody, and then you turn around for no change in the world and say i'm going to run against this guy. my thought, it is a question of loyalty. what is your thought? >> i think republican voters would forgive him disloyalty to barack obama, but that's the problem.
the problem is he worked for the guy and he praised the guy and praised clinton again. you got a republican primary problem there and i'm trying to imagine how that's going to play in the iowa caucuses. >> here is trump. he's tops in the latest ppp poll, a democratic listing poll here. it has 26% of the primary voters. people voting primaries for him. he's trailed by huckabee, way down at nine behind him and romney, gingrich and palin rounding out the pack. that's an amazing week for trump. this is one of the most amazing -- this guy, he could be quick silver. this could be flavor of the week. we have seen it -- i've never seen this much excitement about a candidate who is not actually going -- somebody said to me, one of my producers said he doesn't actually go and campaign and shake hands. he doesn't shake hands, donald trump. is that going to be a problem? he doesn't shake hands with people. will that be a problem? >> that's kind of a problem, yeah, if you don't shake hands. you got to do that to campaign. this is an amazing phenomenon. despite his obvious panache,
howev however, trump will say anything. he has said in the past that george w. bush was the worst president we ever had. so anything will come out of his mouth if you wait long enough. and he happens to be now saying things that really are red meat to the republican base and so he moves up in the polls. but i remain deeply skeptical of his "candidacy." >> he reminds me of a kid or somebody before a game when you do trash talk. you try to get the other side ticked off. and it works. i know guys do it in sports. you say stuff when you get near them, egg them on, but why is it working with republicans? one more time, what is this about? >> there aren't that many people who are brands unto themselves that people like and gravitate towards and he's been doing this at a high skilled level in terms of getting attention and has his finger on the pulse of the public for longer than any of
these other people. >> i underestimated his ability to do whatever this contest is. this week, he's winning it. congratulations, donald. you've done it this week. i don't know what you're doing exactly, but whatever this is, this thing, this reality show, game show, political event, you're winning. thank you, mark and gene. up next, what's wrong with this picture? it is a new stamp from the postal service with a very big mistake. what do you think that is? guess, new york, nevada, where do you think that picture is taken?
i wasn't born here. just want to be clear. i was born in hawaii. >> i guess you could call what the president said there was a joke there about a joke. next up, who's that lady to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the statue of liberty? the post office has issued this commemorative stamp. look at it. the hitch? it's the wrong statue of liberty. they put on the replica. they see it not from new york but the new york casino in las vegas. instead of the real thing. the post office regrets the error, quote, we still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway. they would have quoted -- they would have photographed the one out in vegas. i find it hard to believe they would have done that on purpose. back to politics,
a cease and desist -- michele bachmann called planned parenthood, quote, the lens crafters of big abortion. that didn't sit with the eyeglass chain. they requested she quit using it in public comments. her spokesman says she'll comply. to end on a much lighter note, last night jon stewart picked up on what president obama said or didn't say during his big budget speech. good stuff coming here. >> president obama is going to say it, he's going to be honest. going to keep it real. it's going be a tax increase, people. >> my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code -- >> what? >> spending reductions in the tax code? the tax code is not where we spend, it's where we collect. you managed to talk about the tax hike as a spending reduction. can we afford that and the royalty checks you're going to